4.2.2   Using segregating materials
The term "segregation" is used to describe the visible segregation of packages or batches of cargo.
It can be useful to segregate loads in a transport container which are of the same type type but destined for different recipients if the goods could otherwise be confused or subsequent sorting work might be required. Sorting involves considerable time outlay which can lead to additional costs. Segregating goods in good time is therefore critical for cost-effective delivery of goods to their final destination or to interim destinations.
It is thus of great economic significance for conventional maritime transport and for storage. Segregation plays a less important role in the transport of cargo with containers and other cargo transport units.
Segregation is unnecessary if there is no danger of goods being confused because they have different package dimensions, a different shape or color or other different characteristics.
Transport law stipulations require that the consignor, carrier or shipper of a cargo provide the goods for delivery in a suitable condition, meaning that the goods must be both complete and in an undamaged condition. Such legislation may lead to an obligation to segregate the goods.

In principle, two different methods are used for segregation:
  • spatial segregation and
  • optical segregation using appropriate materials.
Spatial segregation of batches of cargo or individual packages is relatively easy to carry out on shore. On open spaces, and in sheds or warehouses, the storage spaces are indicated by appropriate location specifications, chalk marking or similar markings. For domestic transport, spatial segregation is achieved by delivering the different batches in separate vehicles or freight cars or by packing them separately in such vehicles or cars. Virtually the same principle applies for container cargoes.

The following requirements must be met when segregating cargo batches of the same kind or with the same appearance using segregation materials:
  • The materials used must not cause any damage to the goods or their packaging, either by depreciation of their sales value or as a result of loss or shrinkage;
  • Marking of the goods must not be rendered illegible by segregation;
  • Segregation must be clearly recognizable.
With the exception of talcum, all materials described in the section "Dunnage" (see section 4.2.3) are used as segregation materials, e.g. wooden boards, wooden panels and walking boards, squared lumber, planks, boards and wooden dunnage, sailcloth, canvas and tarpaulins, reed, rattan or bamboo mats, films, cardboard and paper etc. The properties of these materials and their benefits and disadvantages are also described in the section "Dunnage" and will therefore not be discussed further here.

Materials which are only used for segregation are:
  • Thin synthetic plastic nets or cargo nets
  • Ropes, cloth strips or jute fabric strips
  • Paints, marking pens, etc.
Thin synthetic plastic nets are relatively inexpensive. Segregation with these nets is easily recognized and does not cause any loss of stowage space. In addition, they are easy to transport and store, clean and reuse. Another benefit is that they do not hinder any necessary ventilation measures. A disadvantage is that they pose a hazard if anyone becomes entangled in them. To a certain extent, they are a trip hazard. They cannot be used to segregate bulk cargo.
Much the same applies to cargo nets as to thin nets. They are also expensive, more bulky and very difficult to free from odor infection. Under certain circumstances, they can cause pressure marks on the cargo.
Ropes are suitable for segregating long cargo items, such as structural welded steel mesh, roundwood and cut lumber, TOR steel etc., provided there is no risk of pressure marks. Fiber ropes are preferable to wire ropes, since the latter can cause rust damage. Impregnated ropes could cause a cargo to be infected by odors.
Strips made of various materials or adhesive strips are preferable to ropes, as they do not cause pressure marks and lead to smaller cavities and spaces. They are also generally cheaper. Cloth strips or jute fabric strips should never be used for fatty organic cargoes, as they could encourage or cause the cargo to ignite spontaneously.
Marking pens and paints can be used to indicate packages which belong together or the same batches, by means of clear signatures, color codes or stripes. They are only suitable for segregating goods if they do not restrict the further processing and actual marking of these, and if value of the goods does not depreciate as a result of any segregation indications. For instance, descaled metal sheets must not be marked with wax crayon, as otherwise it will subsequently be impossible to coat them without additional work. In the case of soft or absorbent woods, partial or total damage could be caused by using e.g. water-based paints.
Sufficiently heavy-duty and dense materials should be used to segregate bulk goods. Otherwise, parts of the various batches could become mixed if the segregation materials were to tear or develop leaks. Covers made of sailcloth, tarpaulin, canvas or strong plastic sheeting are suitable. The materials used to segregate grains and foodstuffs must be non-toxic and neutral in odor.

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